Tuesday, May 31, 2005

k.d. lang and music for a melancholy evening

Last night, while on a hunting and gathering expedition with the Sasquatch (aka Memorial Day dinner at Chevy's), we stopped by Circuit City. They were having one of those $9.99 cd sales, which would be really dangerous in a store with a wider selection than they have. ("Thank god," says my wafer thin checking account balance...) I did pick up a cd, though - k.d. lang's newest, "Hymns of the 49th Parallel".

It's really beautiful. The cd is a collection of covers of low-key songs by some really brilliant songwriters, each track blessed with that wonderfully aching, lush and velvety voice. k.d. lang is another person, like Elvis Costello, who could sing the contents of a phonebook and still make me cry. The Sasquatch and I heard her at Wolftrap a few summers back. God, it was good. We felt profoundly straight that evening, sitting out on a hillside surrounded by a gazillion smiling lesbians, enjoying what k.d. herself calls "Lesbian Beatlemania". Heh. All I know is, by the end of the gig, the Sasquatch and I were very musically happy - and very, very confident in our own heterosexuality.

k.d. lang

So, here I am, listening to k.d. lang sing Joni Mitchell's "Jericho" and feeling like I'm drifting away on a velvet dream. So wistful. So beautiful. As stupid as it sounds, I'm still in this melancholy mood after finishing the last of The Dark Tower books. 4,000+ pages and at least seven or eight major tearjerker moments (at least for me) later, I'm feeling a little sad to be done. But it sure was good to have something to take my mind off my current predicament. (I'm ready, gunslinger, if you need a hand this next time 'round.)

Wake up, kiddo. It's time to get with the program. It's just Tuesday night, with k.d. lang keeping me company, back at the computer as I go groveling for work.

Please, god, let me find a job soon. Please?

Ka like a wheel

Read The Dark Tower. Then you'll understand. Ka is one mutha bitch of a wheel. Daaaaaamn.

Diagram A: Greedy old ka

Actually, the way I feel right now, completely emotionally wiped by the final book, the picture above is fairly accurate - "ka like a spinning sawblade..."

I weep for the youth of Britain...

This week, a mobile phone ringtone outsold real music on the top of the UK pop charts. Yep. That's right, buckaroos. A friggin' ringtone. Now, keep in mind, I don't find ringtones themselves to be evil. (They are evil, however, when they're heard in movie theaters and other spots where people have an expectation of quiet.) First off, I myself have supported the ringtone industry by letting Sony pick my pockets for the variety of tones programmed into my phone - if I hear Erasure, I know it's the Sasquatch at home, Depeche Mode - the Sasquatch at work, and the theme to Bewitched means it's my sister, Nurse Rachet. (This last one is amusing if you know her real name.) Second, I know someone who is involved in the design of innovative ringtones, and I really like and respect said person. A whole lot. And, if said person reads this entry, I'd be dying to hear his thoughts on this turn of events, especially as he's first and foremost a musician.

And, truly, it would do no good at all to deny that ringtones are a very, very big business, indeed, especially for the youth market. But, c'mon! When ringtones outsell music ON A MUSIC CHART... well, that's just wrong, kids. The saddest part is, it's a really shitty ringtone.

Don't believe me? Can it really suck that much? Yes, it can. Coldplay lost out to this crap. Roll over the stupid image of the mutant frog riding the rocket and give a listen. Be sure to stay for the "bam-bam-be-de-brrrrr" motorcycle sound. It's so exciting. (Ugh.)

Can someone explain this to me? Mass hysteria in the UK?

Somewhere, on the misty isle of Avalon, Arthur spins like an overheated turbine...

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day with Nurse Rachet

My sister, Nurse Rachet, lives about a half-hour from our home town in Illinois. Today, she met up with my sister, Social Worker, and my brother, EdGeo, to lay flowers at graves of our parents at the National Cemetery on the grounds of the Rock Island Arsenal. Nurse Rachet's daughters have the unfortunate "luck" at an early age to have both sets of grandparents buried there, just across the entry drive from each other. (Nurse Rachet's father-in-law died just one week after our father died, in the same hospital. The same bewildered parish priest - a newcomer to our town - was really kinda freaked out to see the same people troop in again for another funeral...)

Old school Midwestern Memorial Day

Today, Nurse Rachet's eldest daughter brought her horn to the cemetery to play for her grandparents. Her musical tribute was apparently much appreciated by some older folks who came through to pay their respects to lost loved ones, too.

A song for our veterans...

I wish I could have been there. It's calming to visit. Hard to believe it will be 19 years, this coming week (your birthday, Sasquatch - sorry) since my father died. Already four since Mom moved on.

The girls, Nurse Rachet, and our parents...

Star Wars - Tool of Satan? WTF?

I can't tell if this website is a joke or not. There are a lot of freaks out there. You be the judge.

Wedge had no idea he was serving the forces of Hell...

Chaz Lindbergh: Säen der Samen der Sinneslust

That is to say, sowing the seeds o' lust.

Kinky little deeeevil. Busy little bee. I want to know more about how Lindbergh ends up hookin' up with a Munich hatmaker. I mean, damn. Life is stranger than fiction.

Insert tasteless cockpit and/or joystick joke here.

Whoo-hoo, I added a hit counter!

Why I didn't install one when I first started the blog... who the hell knows? Why I feel I need one now? Don't ask. It's just another thing of the bell & whistle variety to entertain my stunted little mind.

Yeah, it's kinda dumb at this point. It's like deciding to get a new book of checks starting at #0000 when you've had your bank account for a few months already. Hard to know what the hell's going on.

What can I tell ya? I'm a dork. :-)

Grazhdanin Zagladin! Vy durok! I vot i vsyo!

For the non-Russian speakers out there, I just called this Zagladin guy an idiot. But in all honesty, he's just a piddling paper puppet for the increasingly sinister cretin running the Kremlin. Demoting the Siege of Leningrad to four words??? "German troops blockaded Leningrad." ?!?!

Great googly moogly! The Siege of Leningrad was an epic event in World War II history, and a memory of horror and strength for the Soviet Union. Between 640,000 and 800,000 people died during the 900-day Siege of Leningrad. There was no food! There was no heat! People ate sawdust. Some turned to cannibalism to stay alive. Most of the dead are buried in enormous, trough-like mass graves, 50,000 to a trough.

"German troops blockaded Leningrad."

Just imagine if 9/11 had wiped out not only the WTC, but also half of the population of the five boroughs, and our textbooks only read: "9/11 was really bad." I'm appalled on behalf of the people who survived (and died) in the Siege, and I'm appalled for the Russian kids missing out on their history.

I have never liked Putin. He gives me the creeps. I now extend this creepy feeling to his cowardly minions at the Ministry of Education, who pulled a perfectly good textbook from schools, Russia-wide. They're scared of Putin and his well-dressed thugs and their vaults of cash and weapons. I could go on for days about this, but let's just say, the devil wears Armani in Moscow. Putin is a Bad Russian, kiddies.

And peeps, I'm no fool when it comes to Russians.

Mutha Russia will rot from the head... I gua-rahn-tee ya.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Brain temporarily full. Please call back later.

Oh, my head hurts. Too many pages in too short a time. Too much stuff going on.

Everyone should go read The Dark Tower books by Stephen King. I finished the sixth book, Song of Susannah, today. I need to take a day off before starting the final book for a variety of reasons. My eyes need to catch up, my brain needs to catch up, and I need to go take a very long walk to make up for being a hideous book slug for several days now.

Plus, I'm reluctant for the journey to end. As just about anyone who knows me can tell you, I deal poorly with change. I think some characters I've become attached to are going to die, and I just don't want to go through that doorway. Sigh. Yes, I'm a total goober. Yes, they're only books. But, dammit.

If ya ken this sigul, say thankee-sai, gunslinger!

(The Mid-World version of the "Thank a teacher" bumper sticker.
Can also read "My child earned his guns early at the Gilead Academy"...)

"I do not aim with my hand.
He who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I aim with my Eye.

I do not shoot with my hand.
He who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I shoot with my Mind.

I do not kill with my hand.
He who kills with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.
I kill with my Heart."

- The Gunslinger's Litany by Stephen King

This is really good stuff, guys. Really good stuff.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Got $5 to spare? I've got a great place to spend it!

My mother, Jerry, died in 2001. She was one tough lady - and one cool chick, and she was a survivor who always persevered, despite blindness, diabetes, and multiple forms of cancer. But one thing she couldn't overcome was a failing heart. She had heart valve replacement surgery a year before she died. It was a terrifying ordeal, frankly, as she did not come through the surgery well and was on life support far longer than she should have been. She spent a couple of scary weeks addled, thinking she was a little girl, back on her grandparents' homestead in 1920's Oregon, picking flowers and hanging out with Hank and Bunk and the rest of the cowboys she knew as a child.

But even after that, her mind came back to it's usual high clarity and she stayed with us for another year, meeting her goal of reaching the REAL new millenium. (She had no patience for those who celebrated the turn from 1999 to 2000.) But, in March of 2001, my mom - my hero - passed away. Her able mind and quick wit sadly no match for an ailing heart.

I remember, just a week before she died, I was in Las Vegas with a delegation from the former Soviet Union. My mom was raised in Vegas before it was Sin City - when it was mostly dust and desert, filled with Mexican workers brought in to build the first casinos. She remembered running into Gary Cooper - literally - as a small child (she smacked into him, running down a street, and he'd turned to pick her up - he had the most beautiful blue eyes, she told me again and again.) Later, she saw Clark Gable, dressed in a heavy red-and-black buffalo-checked jacket, with a rifle slung over his shoulder. He was headed out to hunt in the foothills of the mountains, where old silver mines and ghost towns dotted the landscape. Mom even recalled the annual veterans' parade, with old men who'd fought the Civil War.

The Civil War.

My mother was a child of the remnants of the Old West. She hated cities and the East all her life, and she would have been perfectly happy with a pile of books in an old cabin on the edge of a desert somewhere - as long as there were mountains nearby. Ruts in her father's front yard were the marks of wagon wheels come to the end of the Oregon trail. She was carried around in a covered wagon on cattle ranches as a baby. Her summers were spent at Gramma and Grampa Castor's Oregon homestead where the "ice box" was actually a crate left to dangle in the cold water of a fast-moving stream and the standard issue clothing for a kid for the whole season was "one pair of overalls and a sun hat". (And it makes me smile to think she'd become a woman who liked to discuss quantum mechanics and got irritated when too much fantasy crept into her science fiction reading...)

But Vegas changed from the dusty desert town she grew up in, and the casinos and the ugliness that swept into Vegas had kept Mom away for the rest of her life, once she left Nevada in WWII. She never let us go there as kids, despite our whining and begging. We got as close as Reno, where her father and stepmother had retired. And that was it.

I called mom from Vegas that week in March. I could tell she was having trouble breathing - her words were ragged and few. I didn't waste the time given. I didn't tell her the city seemed much better than the Sodom and Gomorrah she remember it turning into. I didn't tell her I'd had the bizarre chance to see Bill Gates dressed up as Harry Potter and one of his minions as a Jedi knight so they could get people excited about a stupid videogame system. I didn't tell her about my Russians who jumped into the hotel pool in dirty underwear and stole grocery bags of food from the "manager's reception". Instead, I just told her I loved her and then described the desert sunset of reds and oranges and the mountains falling into a velvet purple. All she said was, "Look at my mountains for me."

That was the last full sentence my mother ever said to me. I never saw my mother's living face again. I never heard her speak again except in single words or ragged gasps of air as her heart gave out. I didn't make it home in time the day she died. I missed her by an hour. And that's something that will eat at me forever. And right now, as I write this, I'm filled with anger and a deep sadness and something very primal that doesn't have a name.

It will fade, but it will never go away.

And now, my brother EdGeo and my sister the Shopaholic are both suffering from failing hearts. I wonder every day if I've spoken to them for the last time. And they are both relatively young people. I don't think they even have mountains for me to look at for them. And that fills me with sadness again.

My sister, Nurse Rachet - she of the chicken farm and the arthritis-fused thumb, is going to undertake a walk for the American Heart Association this coming week. I'm amazed she has time to do it, and that she feels well enough to do it, as she just had her thyroid removed on May 13th. (And, lo and behold - it was discovered, after the fact, to be cancerous. Jesus Christ in a chicken basket, folks.) I'm scraping by right now, but, in honor of my mother, and my sister, and my brother, I'm going to use the moolah from a rebate check I just got from something I bought in the before time - when I had a job - to sponsor her for this walk.

If you have $5 to spare, please consider sponsoring my sister for this walk. This link takes you to my sister's sponsor page. (And those of you with a sense of humor and an appreciation for 60's sitcoms will be amused by my sister's name.) It's tax deductible, for y'all here in the United States.

I hope next year to be doing the same thing for the American Diabetes Assocation. But for now, it's a chance to say thanks for the hearts already lost, and those I'm afraid I'm going to lose, and those we will all yet lose - or save. Iffen you sponsor my sister and don't have someone you'd like to honor, I invite you to offer it in my mom's name. I'm sure she'll smile down on you for it. Her name was Geraldine N. Jordan. Or, Jerry Hardman, if you please (she'd probably prefer that!) You can always find my mom on Google if you enter "Geraldine Hardman WASP" and see her flying days recognized.

No smartass caption today. Just appreciation...

Thanks for considering this, and, regardless, thanks for reading my blog, in its infinite self-indulgence. I appreciate you dropping by.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Everyone thinks they're Tom Shales...

...or, Amazon.com customers take on Season Three of "The Land of the Lost"...

Don't ask me why, but I just had to check and see if "The Land of the Lost" was available on DVD. Lo and behold, it is. All three awful seasons of it. Cha-ka gave me the creeps. I thought Enik's name was "Eunich". (For real - even though I had no idea what a eunich was at the time.) But I liked the pylon business. That was cool. Well, cool-ish.

Man, those Krofft brothers were responsible for a lot of nightmares in my childhood. I'm trying to imagine what stoned college students would make of their handicraft... before clawing their faces off in terror...

I decided to see what - if anything - Amazon users had to say about Season Three, when the already craptacular show not only jumped the shark, but knifed the shark in the back, and then beat the shark badly with a truncheon.

Sleetstack? Any relation to Robert Stack?
I love the sign, even if the spelling is whacked.

Indeed, much to my surprise, there were multiple reviews of this '70's rubbermasked horror. And, after reviewing the thoughtful musings of true fans, I have to say: thank you, Amazon users - your reviews of Season Three serve to amuse and educate. Enjoy.

Want some more? I bet you do. How about a nice mp3 of the banjo-riffic theme song. C'mon - ya know ya wanna hear it!! Knock yer socks off - and remember, don't touch the pylons!

Great googly moogly, what is the deal with Shannen Doherty?

She's fired from her new UPN show before it even premieres?!? Dang, woman! What's the damage?!?

Or anyone else, apparently...

Things have all been downhill since Pru died... (this will make sense only to some of you, and that's okay...)

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Happy Birthday, MEB!!!

A birthday wish to my friend of 30+ years (eeek!) a couple of hours early, as I'm headed to bed before midnight EST (going cold turkey off the Dark Tower books for a night or two, god help me - I'm gonna get the DT DTs -hahahahahahaha!!)

It's pretty damn cool to still be hangin' (even if it's via the wonders of Ma Bell and the Internet) with your best bud from grade school 30 years down the pike. MEB introduced me to the music of Thomas Dolby, probably did as much as my mother and my brother to form my taste in leisuretime reading, and we even ended up working at desks next to each other at the American Embassy in Russia. Now, that's Pretty Freakin' Amazing. (Man, sometimes I really miss Sunday nights in Moscow, playing cards with MEB, her future husband, and the Krup-chitsa, eating mushroom soup and listening to They Might Be Giants. Oh, and I so miss the cheap champagne. Oooohweee doggies, yeah!)

So, without any further ado...

Happy birthday MEB!
Happy birthday MEB!
Happy birthday, happy birthday,
Happy birthday MEB!

Have a slice and a nice cold cider for me, okay?

With much love, a big hug, and every good wish for a mahvelous birthday!!!

- MJ

When television is Just Plain Good

Holy flippin' three-eyed talking mackerel, Batman! The start of tonight's "LOST" season finale? Just one word: ni-tro-glyc-er-in.

(Followed by my three words, repeated loudly enough for the neighbors to hear: "HOLY SHIT DUUUUUDE!")

Compelling frickin' viewing, man.

Commercials ending. Seacrest out.

What is Your World View?

Another quizlet snarfed from StupidEvilBastard.com. My score does not surprise me in the least.

You scored as Cultural Creative.

Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (updated)
created with QuizFarm.com

Ya steals from Uncle George, ya lose...

I don't feel any pity for the brainiacs of EliteTorrents.org. Thievery doesn't pay, no matter how slick and techno-savvy you reckon you are...

When you steal movies, you may only pinch a penny from Uncle George's flannel-lined pocket, but you really rip off the hundreds of payday-needin' technical folk who make Uncle George's universe happen.


That'll Learn Ya...

Runaway bride with the goo-goo-googly eyes indicted on felony and misdemeanor charges. Always a prison bitch, never a bride...

Tom Cruise, Enormous A-hole

And now, Merujo briefly unloads on Scientology...

Avoid zealots. They are generally unpleasant.

Tom Cruise, high school drop-out and apparent mental health professional, on postpartum depression: "There is a hormonal thing that is going on, scientifically, you can prove that. But when you talk about emotional, chemical imbalances in people, there is no science behind that. You can use vitamins to help a woman through those things."

Oh, puh-leeze, tell us more about your personal experiences with postpartum depression, Tommy Boy. Really, oh wise one! I'm sure that you didn't blink a bit after you birthed yo' babies. Oh wait. That's right. You can't suffer from postpartum depression, you total jerk. You don't have the equipment to "part" anything.

Asshole Scientologist.

I don't know when they started handing out M.D.s in granola boxes, but I sure can't wait to get mine! I'm sure if I were to conjure my maternal grandmother from the dead and tell her that amateur shrink Tom Cruise sez her depression could have been cured by vitamins, she'd be amazed. I'll be sure to tell all my sisters and friends who took their friggin' vitamins throughout pregnancy and still found themselves depressed. Tommy sez, "Tish tosh, ladies! There is no such thing as a chemical imbalance! You just should have taken more vitamins!"

Did I already say "Asshole Scientologist"? Yes? Well, hell. There's nothing like a little emphasis to drive the point home.

Ass-hole. Sci-en-tol-o-gist.

Tomchik, shouldn't you be out making a sequel to "Battlefield Earth" or some other piece of crap to appease the great spinning cylinders? Drop by sometime, Tommy Boy. Let me tell you how much I would have appreciated knowing my grandmother. Wish to hell and gone they'd had Paxil back in 1921...

To Brooke Shields, I say: congratulations, hon, on making it through your depression. I often wonder what my mom's childhood would have been like had there been good - or any - medication for her mother... And Tom Cruise can stick it where the sun don't shine with his snotty comments about your career, hon.

To Katie Holmes, I say: run, little Katie, run! Run the hell away and just keep running. You don't need this garbage in your life just to keep your career afloat, honey. Seriously, babe. You marry him, you're a fool.

Listen, L. Ron Hubbard wrote shitty science fiction. Plain and simple. And, in the midst of writing his crappy fiction, he figured out an amazing way to part gullible wealthy people from their money and make them feel so goody-good about themselves, they'd empty their pockets and still walk away with a shit-eating grin. Wily old bastard, that Hubbard guy. It's more of a scam than those "no money down" real estate rackets advertised on late night TV.

When I was a student in London back in the '80's, Scientologists would stand outside the Goodge Street tube stop and try to get passersby to come into their storefront office for a free "personality evaluation". If you had the misfortune to be stuck standing there, waiting for the streetlights to change, the freaky, overly smiley recruiters would get more aggressive and brazen, suggesting that there might be something wrong with you that Scientology could fix. I found that massively offensive.

One evening, a friend of mine, an exceedingly handsome Welshman (well, exceedingly handsome in my young mind, at least) got into a shoving match with one of the Scientologists who offered him a path to improve his imperfect mind. My friend gave him some deeply personal suggestions in his rumbly, deep distinctly (sexy) Welsh accent. The Scientologist then snidely said that Scientology had programs that could even help the Welsh to improve.

That was a mistake.

One thing I learned over that year in London - don't suggest to a Welshman that he's anything other than Just Fine The Way He Is. At the time of this super-terrific-happy-fun encounter, a pack of us were headed back to hall from a fairly drunken stop at Dionysus (or, as we called it, Dinosaurs), a really seedy kabob shop on Tottenham Court Road. I recall, once the pushing started, a flurry of lamb bits and cucumber sauce becoming airborne. I also recall our surly posse being given a wide berth the next time we walked by. Apparently, the Scientologists had determined we weren't appropriate candidates for "personality evaluations".

When a good science fiction writer comes up with a decent religion, come talk to me... Until then, Mr. Cruise and Co., you can stick your clear Thetan bullshit where the sun don't shine.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

And now...


I once convinced

a friend in Moscow

that jackalopes were real

and the meat was sold

in grocery stores

from coast to coast.

Sorry my previous post was so existentially overwrought. Hope you enjoyed the jackalopage.

The Circle is Now Complete

My name is Merujo, and I am an old school Star Wars geek. (Hello, Merujo!) I started writing this post back on May 14th, but just couldn't finish it.

In May 1977, I was eleven years old. The younger of my two older brothers, EG, had moved back into our parents' house after a disastrous attempt at college and a few years slinging hamburgers at some dive joint in Jersey. He was - and still is - a massive science fiction freak. Now that his health has faded and he's restricted to a life on disability, his science fiction reading is one of the few things that keeps him going. He doesn't feel well enough to sit through most movies now at the theater. Lord of the Rings was very painful for him - too long to sit without putting his feet up. I try to call him once a week. We catch up on "Amazing Race" and "LOST" and talk about dumb shit and whatever odd news stories strike us both as too bizarre to be real.

Back in the day, whenever a new sci-fi movie came out, my brother would be there opening day, hoping it Just Wouldn't Suck. We'd been watching commercials for Star Wars for a couple of weeks before the movie came out. (I still remember that the ad had a snippet of the scene where C-3PO introduces himself and R2 to Luke in the "garage" of the Lars' homestead. I never noticed R2 in the snippet, so, when 3PO says, "And this is R2-D2" and Luke says, "Hello", I kept thinking, "Damn. That's a weird name for a boy.") The movie looked goofy, it was PG, and my brother asked if I wanted to go see it with him. Being a kid without an allowance, I was more than happy to take anyone up on a free movie.

It must have been a 7 p.m. show. Showcase Cinemas. Milan (pronounced MY-lan), Illinois. May 25, 1977. My brother bought me a souvenir program. The theater was packed.

Never before in my life - and never since - have I felt what I felt that first time I saw Star Wars. I missed half the dialogue because of the audience laughter and oohs and ahhs. (But no cell phones - god, I miss that.) I thought the Jedi used "lifesavers". It didn't matter. I was transformed. I babbled to my mother afterward like a lunatic. And the disease spread like wildfire among my friends. We were the smart girls. Right on the verge of junior high school. Elementary school smart girls who had just discovered nirvana on a silver screen. Star Wars became an all-consuming obsession with me, from the early bird action figures to writing letters to all the actors. (I still have my autographed photo of Harrison Ford - it's traveled the world with me - but I no longer display it. The whole mid-life crisis/Lara Flynn Boyle/Calista Flockhart/flying to strip clubs in Ohio thing has tarnished the fantasy.)

I have photographic evidence of my fat kid self hideously stuffed into awful shopping mall iron-on image Star Wars t-shirts with the most wretched haircut ever seen on a human. It's beyond '70's. It's just BAD. My mom let me use poster paint to create huge Star Wars tableaux on our living room window for special days - birthday, Halloween, Christmas. Each time, I'd repaint the whole thing to represent a different scene from the movie. I realize now, she allowed me to make our home look like a cut-rate head shop. Wow, that was massively indulgent. No wonder the neighbors thought we were whacked.

I saw Star Wars 27 times that summer of 1977. I was a geeklet, and it didn't bother me. I had awful hair and wore boy's t-shirts all the time, and I didn't care. My mom was indulgent and bought me a pile of Star Wars toys which I played with endlessly, but lovingly retained all the packaging for each piece. It was the Before Time, when I was happy running around with my friends, brandishing plastic Han Solo blasters and wearing the awful Greedo head Nurse Rachet made. It was a great time. I didn't care so much what people thought of me and what I looked like. Even the bullies who followed me home from school, taunting me and hitting me with sticks and plastic baseball bats (because they knew I couldn't run fast enought to escape them or catch them) couldn't dim my enthusiasm that summer. And I changed then. I became more confident. I was still a geek, but one who carried some special secret inside that Star Wars had given me. It was okay to dream, and to dream big.

Throughout junior high and high school, Star Wars stayed close to my heart. I won tickets over the radio to the champagne premiere of The Empire Strikes Back and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. I sat outside the theater with my friends for the opening day of The Return of the Jedi, all the good kids, the smart kids, skipping school for a 2-hour religious experience. When I went to college, I brought a Star Wars poster with me to blu-tack to the wall in my tiny dorm room. (I also had a Michael Whelan unicorn poster - go figure, I'm a girl, okay? Whelan is my fave science fiction illustrator, even to this day - and I noticed that he's the dude that illustrated most of the Dark Tower books. Yeah!)

More modestly, when I moved to Moscow, I carried a postcard of that same Star Wars poster and affixed it to my refrigerator, next to a photograph of the Sasquatch, the first night I was there. Harrison Ford looked out at my from my bedside table. He got to see me come home really wasted on champagne and vodka more than once, I'm sorry to say.

The highly prized Star Wars Style D One Sheet - aka, "The Circus Poster"
I brought the "Star Wars Poster Monthly" version of this to college - a whole $1.95 worth. Now, I have the genuine article. It's spectacular, and it's real.

When I came back from Moscow years later, I was a bit more careworn and embittered by allowing myself to be taken advantage of by a wretched French fool. I still get angry thinking about it. (And I enjoy mean jokes about the French more than I probably should.) By then, my love affair with Star Wars had faded, but the affection remained. Practicality reigned though, and I ended up selling all my Star Wars stuff - that which wasn't ruined when my mom's sometime household help had a nervous breakdown and poured dog food into all my stuff in storage in the attic, which created a squirrel feeding frenzy - to finance a move to Washington, DC. (When I was a kidlet, I kept telling my mom "My Star Wars stuff is all gonna be worth something someday." Prescient little bastard, eh?)

Now, and for several years now, I regret selling all my Star Wars stuff. And that is how, General Zhivago says to the girl, you came to be lost. I get this angsty feeling that creeps up from my belly about selling off the tangible signs of happiness, and I have to work hard to make it pass. Stupid, but true. I know they were just things. But it was a happy time, despite the bullies and my mom's cancer and my father just not liking me. It was, in the big picture, a happy time.

So, here I am now...

On the news last week, the Sasquatch and I saw a familiar face camped out in front of the rat-tastic Uptown Theater in Northwest DC, waiting for opening day of "Revenge of the Sith" - Carbonite Girl, a woman who was a fellow volunteer with us at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum's "Star Wars: the Magic of Myth" exhibit. She was, to say the least, a wee bit more flamboyant than either the buttondown bigfoot or I could ever be. She clearly had ren-fest blood running in her costumed veins. On the last day the exhibit store was open, she used her volunteer discount to buy a lifesize Han Solo in Carbonite, which she planned to cover in glass and use as a coffee table. For, you know, nothing says "Ummm, these canapes are deeeeelicious!" like eating them off the special-effects-drooling curled lip of Harrison Ford.

Sigh. I will say this, though, she looked perfectly happy on the news and in her geeky skin, and I admire that in her. I envy the Carbonite Girl. Somewhere along the way (was it in college? was it in Moscow?), when I passed through the doorway from the Before Time, I lost that confidence she managed to keep. I stepped into a different place, one where it mattered what people thought of me and what I looked like. One where I realized that being a really fat chick with bad hair and scars meant that I wasn't ever going to be a wife and a mother and a partner. I was in a grown-up place where even the nicest of the nice guys wouldn't choose me if I were the last woman on the planet, and potential employers looked down their noses at me. I'm still in this place, and I so want out. I wish I could find some of the magic again. I really was much better at being a kid than at being an adult. That's for sure.

Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope.

So, here I am now...

Not sure what's going to happen. I wish I had more confidence in the future. Always in motion is the future. Now that a friend has me obsessively reading about another universe, I'm thinking, there are other worlds than these. Hmm. That can be a good thing. And that can be a bad thing. I guess it's just A Thing.

I just pulled my Harrison Ford picture out of the linen closet and dusted off his face. I'm trying to see past the creepy flings and the strip clubs (and that earring, puh-leeze!) and see what made my heart sing for the first time in '77. The photo is autographed. It reads "To Melissa, Best Wishes, Harrison Ford" but his signature actually looks more like "Happyjon Ronz". I'll leave Happyjon Ronz out today and look him in the eye. There are other worlds than these, Happyjon, my boy - maybe one of them holds salvation.

Uncle George, can I ask for one thing, please? It's time for redemption.

I'm asking personally. Selfishly.

Please do not disappoint me. I don't know if I could handle it again. Please don't let this be bad.

Tony the Tiger has left the building...

Thurl Ravenscroft. Now that's one hell of a name. He was the voice of Tony the Tiger. They're grrrrrreat! And now, Tony has been silenced. Normally, I'd make some snarky comment here, riffing on "they're great" (and I have one in mind, of course), but I'll let it pass.

Tony the Tiger and Thurl Ravenscroft

Adios, Tony. See you on the other side.

Oh, vomit

Call me jaded. Call me a stick in the mud. Hell, call me Merujo the Unbeliever. But I don't buy this Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes ultimate love thing regardless of any jumping around and lip-flapping on Oprah.

Sorry, Charlie. No way.

L. Ron Hubbard, you have a lot to answer for...

Speaking of banjos...

I really dig the funky banjo and brushed drum music in the background to the Pedigree Small Breeds dog food commercial, "Big", that's running right now.

Do not let the face fool you - I am a stone cold killa!
(If only my mouth were larger, I would consume you whole!!)

The strange thing about this giving me warm fuzzies is that the dog/banjo combo normally freaks me out. No, I'm not mental - it's just that the juxtaposition of dogs with banjo music reminds me of a disturbing scene from the 1978 remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". It's a fleeting image of a small dog with a human face, backed by a short, eerie banjo twang. The damn thing still gives me nightmares today. If I'm not mistaken, the Atomic Editor will recall this cinematic creepiness and back me up on it. C'mon big AE man, back a sistah up!

Monday, May 23, 2005

Learn Me Somethin' New Every Day...

When the Sasquatch and I saw Hitchhiker's Guide (eh, feh, not great) the other day, the thing that grabbed me the most (since I am a nostalgic loser) was that the introduction of The Book was heralded by the banjo-infused music used for both the BBC radio show and the tv series, an instrumental piece called "Journey of the Sorcerer".

Now that I had an itch to scratch and a free iTunes download to use by the end of the month (courtesy of my diet Pepsi at the Michael Penn show last month), I decided to download the Hitchhiker's Guide theme. And that's when I discovered something that, were I more musically knowledgeable, I would have known a long time ago. "Journey of the Sorcerer" is an Eagles song from the '70's. Yep. As in Hotel-California-if-ya-wanna-see-us-it's-$120-a-ticket Eagles.

Wow. Huh. A 6+ minute banjo-infused instrumental Eagles track. Who'da thunk it?

Apparently, there are gaps in my mental music database.

I downloaded the Eagles track. It rocks.

Attack of the Insult Comic Dog!

This will make you laugh yourself sick. Seriously. I laughed so hard I had tears streaming down my face. This is a fabulous bit from "Late Night with Conan O'Brien" - Triumph the Insult Comic Dog visits the line waiting for the opening of "Attack of the Clones". Enjoy!

Triumph confronts Darth Vader in Manhattan

Muchas gracias to the kind Mr. Batty for posting that link to the Michael Penn list. Goddang, nothing like a gen-u-ine belly laugh to cure all that ails ya.

Meesa delicious!

The Atomic Editor found this photo through the wonders of Google. It's creeping around the Internet, bringing joy wherever it goes. I congratulate the artiste, Ryan Scott, on his dark, tasteless and wonderful sense of humor.

I imagine this purchased in bulk at the Imperial version of Costco or Sam's Club to feed a Star Destroyer full of hungry stormtroopers. It would probably require some sort of highly-spiced "Helper" product to render it flavorful (or at least a pile of mac 'n' cheese and a really big beer.)

Ladies and gentlemen...

Ground Jar-Jar:

Meesa also available in patties, links, and now with taco seasonin's!

Distance Vision Fades...

The Sasquatch has set me upon a very dangerous path - dangerous insomuch as it may keep Unemployment Girl here from fully attending to job hunting needs for a few days.

Baaaad, rare arboreal creature! Baaaaad!

What has he done?
You may well ask. The Sasquatch has introduced me to the Dark Tower series, a rather good bit of writing by Stephen King. Seven books in all, each one a heftier tome than the one that comes before. I would like to say that I sat down and read the first book in one great bite, but that would do a great disservice to my oversized hirsute friend, for he read the first 50 pages of The Gunslinger to me in my car late Friday night. He even procured books two and three for me at a wonderfully musty used bookstore and loaned me his pristine editions of books one and four.

I finished consuming the first book just as the sun set yesterday. I had found a nice comfy leather chair at Mayorga, and, fueled by two iced cafe mochas, I burned through that baby. And then, like a total glutton, I started book two last night. Something happens at the beginning of book two, The Drawing of the Three - and I mean, like five pages in - that actually had me smack the book down and start yowling and shouting obscenities of the "NO F'ING WAY!!!" variety. It was colorful. I'm sure the neighbors appreciated it.

I stopped twice last night to check the time. I discovered that, from constant focus on small print, my distance vision was a hideous blur, and it took a good 15 seconds to be able to read the inch-high digital numbers clocking the time on the cable box only 8 feet away. Damn, I thought, I need to take a break. And then, immediately returned to the book. I finally set it down at 3:30 this morning. Aaaaannnnd picked the damn thing right back up again when I woke up.

I finally remembered that having breakfast and taking a pee break was a Supremely Good Idea. Rather pathetically, I was still in my pajamas when I finished the book at 2 this afternoon. Ye gods.

So, here it is - Sunday night. No housework done. No resumes sent out, but, by god, I'm 315 pages into book three, The Waste Lands. I swear to god, I'm not reading more tomorrow. I'm taking a break. I'm gonna get me a job. I'm gonna go to the gym. Ooooh, wait - book three is one of the broken-back paperbacks the Sasquatch bought me. Ooooh, I can take that with me to the gym. Treadmill an hour, read some more...

I've been so wrapped up in Stuff lately, I'd forgotten how wonderful it is to get completely immersed in A Good Book. (Or seven.) I could have been anywhere today. I was separated from the reality of my world. I didn't remember that I lived in an overpriced corner of suburban sprawl. I had no sense of being a few miles from the White House. I had no thoughts of being a handful of bills away from poverty. It was just me and a large, used paperback and a totally different world. What a lovely thing that is!

Dammit, Sasquatch. I blame you. (And I thank you, all at once - you stand at the heart of my ka-tet, you know.)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

A Frost Warning in the Suburbs of Hell

Generally speaking, mid-May in the Washington, DC area is hellishly hot and humid. Often, the May weather is just as bad as the wretched swamp heat of August. It pounds down on you like a surly giant smacking you with a steaming, dirty, wet towel studded with rusty thumbtacks.

Simply speaking, it's not nice.

You come to understand why there are so many references to southern women always sitting in the shade on the veranda drinking mint juleps and fanning themselves. It's because you can't move when the heat and the humidity combines to melt your shoes and fuse them to the floor.

However, this year, we appear to be experiencing a freak run of unseasonably cool weather. As a Northern Girl, I find this absolutely delightful. I enjoy wearing sweaters and big fuzzy socks. I have a closet full of coats that never see full use here, south of the Mason-Dixon Line. It's mahvelous, frankly. Just bee-yoo-ti-ful.

Except last night, it was so damn cold in my apartment, my southern livin'-thinned blood turned to Slurpee. I didn't realize how cold it was until about 1 a.m. I was at the computer, typing up a short report for a secret shopping assignment (fun way to make $10 in 15 minutes and look at nice things you can't afford to buy), and suddenly, I realized I could see my breath hanging in the air before me. My feet and hands were ice cold, so I threw on another layer of clothes and raced around the apartment, closing windows and the sliding balcony door.

I ended up sleeping in heavy socks, a turtleneck and sweats, buried under three polarfleece blankets. Pathetic, but true. And yet, in some perverse way, I really enjoyed it. I felt like I was back in the Midwest, where nighttime weather can go freaky on you all the time. (Try snow in Minnesota in May on for size, people.) I slept like a log, roasty toasty warm and had utterly bizarre dreams all night. Of course, I don't remember a single one now, but that's neither here nor there. It's the 21st of May and I didn't have to worry about flopping around in a bucket of sweat. Thank ya, Jesus.

But I know it's coming - the inevitable wave of oppressive humidity matched with hideously high heat, like a foul demon belch from the belly of the earth.

Washington Summer.


Enjoy it while you can kiddies, for the flopsweat, she is coming.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Gettin' Biblical with Martin Sheen

Back in the before time, when Aaron Sorkin was higher than a kite and writing exceptional scripts for NBC, "The West Wing" was a helluva show. Then, Aaron got busted in an airport with coke and pot and possibly an endangered weasel down his pants. In the aftermath, he declared "The West Wing" had jumped the shark and he faded into the Hollywood Hills, just another gorilla in the mist (or smog, if you will.)

But, back in that before time, the writing was good and the social commentary exceptional. Recent reading of the scary and insanely bigoted blog of a young woman in the Midwest (I am drawn to it like gawkers to a particularly gruesome auto accident), I was reminded of one of my absolute favorite West Wing scenes ever. In this piece, President Bartlett walks into a room full of talk radio hosts visiting the White House. One is a Dr. Laura-type, and, unable to stop himself, Josiah Bartlett gives her a piece of his Biblical mind that still amuses me greatly. Here is that scene. Enjoy:

A young Josiah Bartlett goes apeshit in 'Nam...

Tastes Like Chicken

Craig Kilborn. I always found him to be a pretty smarmy, self-important little bastard. But he did do one thing for which I'll be forever grateful. He had one of his show's writers come on and perform an adult contemporary/coffee house version of the Yub Nub song from "Return of the Jedi". It's pretty hilarious. I can't find a video file of it, with all the soft lighting for a singer/songwriter performance, but this audio file is still pretty good.

Celebrate the love, everybody.

Wanna sing along? Find the Ewok lyrics below the picture of the scary forest creature, along with, god help me, a translation.

Yub nub, my ass.


Yub nub, eee chop yub nub,
toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah.
Yah wah, eee chop yah wah,
toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah
Coat ee chah tu yub nub,
Coat ee chah tu yah wah,
Coat ee chah tu glo wah.
allay loo ta nuv
Glo wah, eee chop glo wah, ya glo wah pee chu nee foam,
ah toot dee awe goon daa.
Coat ee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
coat ee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
coat ee cha tu too (ya chaa!)
allay loo tu nuv (3 times)
Glo wah, eee chop glo wah.
Ya glow wah pee chu nee foam,
ah toot dee awe goon daa
allay loo tu nuv.

Yub nub, eee chop yub nub,
Freedom, we got freedom,

toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah.
and now that we can be free, c'mon and celebrate.

Yah wah, eee chop yah wah,
Power, we got power

toe meet toe pee chee keene, g'noop dock fling oh ah
and now that we can be free, c'mon and celebrate.

Coat ee chah tu yub nub,
Celebrate the freedom

Coat ee chah tu yah wah,
Celebrate the power

Coat ee chah tu glo wah.
Celebrate the glory.

allay loo ta nuv
celebrate the love

Glo wah, eee chop glo wah, ya glo wah pee chu nee foam,
Power, we got power, and now that we can be free,

ah toot dee awe goon daa.
it's time to celebrate.

Coat ee cha tu goo (Yub nub!)
Celebrate the light (Freedom!)

coat ee cha tu doo (Yah wah!)
celebrate the might (Power!)

coat ee cha tu too (ya chaa!)
celebrate the fight (Glory!)

allay loo tu nuv (3 times)
celebrate the love

Glo wah, eee chop glo wah.
Glory, we found glory

Ya glow wah pee chu nee foam,
The power showed us the light

ah toot dee awe goon daa
and now we all live free

allay loo tu nuv.
celebrate the love.

But I've never done the Kessel Run...

This is silly. Thanks to Mellawyrden for this. She's an Ewok, poor thing.

Star Wars Horoscope for Scorpio

You are a powerful character.
You tend to be possessive and lusty - which explains your greedy nature.
You feel threatened when people try to order you around or control you.
You are prone to suspicion and jealousy - but your resilience and passion get you what you want.

Star wars character you are most like: Han Solo


I'm discovering my skills and experience are nearly useless in the job market, and my age and appearance cannot be helping me at job interviews. I had a shot at an 8-day temporary job, but then found out this morning they wanted to pay me pennies to work as the helper monkey to the sister of one of the women who escorted me off the premises of my last job.

I really did think I'd be more successful at this stage of my life. But, it kinda looks like I'm a miserable failure instead. Living off credit, unemployed and, apparently, unemployable.

Writing blog entries does not count for professional experience anywhere. Unless you're a witty politico. Which I'm not.

This is really, really depressing. And I'm really, really scared. And I really, really don't want to have to move back to Illinois and live on my sister's chicken farm.

This sucks.

Oh, what fresh new hell is this?

Banner on foxnews.com:

The O'Reilly Factor: O'Reilly Reviews "Star Wars", 4 a.m. ET


Seriously, if I didn't need sleep, I would set the alarm for this one. I'm sure there's a hidden liberal agenda motivating the Jedi.

Sorry I missed it in primetime.


Well... not really.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Revenge of the Clueless Local TV Anchor

A couple of days ago, it was "Princess Layla". Tonight, one of the Fox anchors (who has probably never seen a Star Wars movie in her life) cluelessly commented on the line of fans outside the Uptown Theater, noting that the line was sure to have a lot of "Whoopdies and stormtroopers!"

Whoopdies. Big, hairy Whoopdies. Maybe they come from the same universe as the Ewops (the much-maligned butt of many intergalactic ethnic jokes), the Truckin' Raiders (they're angry and they follow The Dead on tour), and the Taunt-Taunts (cruel beasts of burden that mercilessly mock their riders' appearance, weight, and place of national origin.)

Then again, I could be wrong.

Hot Whoopdie action, Hoth style. I snarfed this from someone else's blog.
I really don't recall the "Chewbacca feels up Princess Leia" sequence in "The Empire Strikes Back". This is just wrong. Where is the Norwegian Red Cross (or the guy with the Purina symbol on his chest) to stop this interspecies boob grab?!?

To those standing in line for tonight's midnight showing, I say - stay hydrated, don't let anybody cut in front of you, and watch out for the whoopdie doo.

Heh heh. Yeah, I'm a laugh riot.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The Star Wars Timeline

Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly.

Star Wars "Early Bird" Figures. I remember I nearly passed out when I saw
the "Early Bird Certificate Package" for these babies at KB Toys in South Park Mall.

The timeline's pretty cool. Really didn't need the reference to Bea Arthur dancing with an alien, though. I will have nightmares tonight... Jefferson Starship... Carrie Fisher singing to Chewbacca... nooooo!

Oh darlin' sugar honey...

When it was nice and sunny...
And when we had some money...
We would go see Echo and the Bunny...
-- Half Man/Half Biscuit

From USA Today's blog coverage of last weekend's HFStival in Baltimore:

"On-stage drama: Echo and the Bunnymen left the stage in the middle of Lips Like Sugar . It seemed like they were having trouble with their lyrics. The fans were not pleased, and boos poured out of the mosh pit. One woman screamed, "Echo this!" Posted 3:34 p.m. ET.

Disappearing bunny: Echo and the Bunnymen left the stage again. Apparently, the band's lead singer, Ian McCulloch, was having trouble with his voice and couldn't go on. The hecklers up front yelling "You suck!" probably didn't help. Posted 3:43 p.m. ET."

And another 80's band sinks quickly into the sunset...

Yet Another Correction

The Sasquatch has just reminded me that I have actually been to THREE sci-fi conventions, and not just the one where a friend and I got the giggles something fierce over the people who were absolutely certain that they'd been probed by aliens.

Apparently, not just for breakfast anymore...

The other two conventions: a Star Wars event in New Jersey (where we met Jeremy "Boba Fett" Bulloch, who was very, very nice, got blown off by angry little person Kenny "R2-D2" Baker, and refused to pay the fee to get an autograph from Dave "Darth Vader" Prowse) and a Star Trek event in Virginia.

Just plain wrong. (Not that the first image wasn't really, really wrong, too!)

The Sasquatch was able to remind me of these events because he was there with me. Attention! Attention! The Sasquatch is a geek! The Sasquatch is a geek!

While elusive in the real world, the Sasquatch is easily identified
in sci-fi convention vendor rooms by his bright pink box...

Not that he had to drag me kicking and screaming to attend. I was a willing participant. The one in New Jersey was made even more memorable by the fact that we stayed with my sister Shopaholic and her husband Sir Swears-a-lot. I think the Sasquatch was amazed by the amount of profanity my brother-in-law could pack in on one weekend. Sadly, I was less amazed.

The Sasquatch digs board and word games. He especially likes Facts in Five
and Balderdash. Here he is seen sizing up the cranium of this little girl to see
if she is smart enough to partner with him. Damn elitist Sasquatch!

I'm more amazed by the fact that I totally forgot these two events. I can't blame this on my brain being full. I swear, my gray cells are atrophying after nearly two months of nothingness. I have to find a job and start eating more fish.

After a traumatic mishap with the Bethesda On the 8's Trolley,
the Sasquatch has taken to hitching rides to work.

I considered going to DragonCon with the Atomic Editor last year, but it sadly didn't work out. I could already see the handwriting on the wall re: my job, and I started to get twitchy about spending any money on unnecessary travel. But, dammit, James "Spike" Marsters was there with his band! I really wanted to see the hot vampire dude, but, it was not to be, cherie. Sigh.

Security is tight in Washington these days. Here the Sasquatch passes
through security at his place of employment. He has an enormous, pretty,
bright green ID he designed himself. For he is The Sasquatch: Graphixx Designer!

Maybe this year. Who knows? A lot depends on getting a new job. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed.

For now, my thanks to both the Sasquatch and the Atomic Editor for being attentive to details in my sloppy entries. To the Sasquatch, today I say: dude, you make the corrections... I just announce 'em. ...as colorfully as possible...

Kolchak is Back!!

Omigod! ABC is bringing back The Night Stalker! Yeah, baby! Kolchak is back! Of course, it simply won't be the same without Darren McGavin, circa 1972, in that awful white suit, but a girl can hope.

For the uninitiated, Kolchak: The Night Stalker was a totally cheesy show about a Chicago investigative journalist who uncovered - and usually dispatched - vampires, werewolves, and other creatures of the night. It only lasted a season, but everyone at my house was hooked.

Kolchak holds back evil in the Windy City

Hey, ABC - don't F this up, mmm'kay? Buffy and Angel are gone. We need some hot 'n' funky Weekly World News action to take up the slack!! (And Charmed, in it's downward quality spiral on the Dubba Dubba Dubya Beeee, ain't cuttin' it these days - my kingdom for a continuity writer!!)

That Book Meme...

UPDATE: I wrote this entry back on May 17th, before I read the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. I read all seven DT books over a 12-day period in May, my mania enabled by the Sasquatch, bless him. And I was moved. I cried so many times during the final book that I think I may have dehydrated myself. So, good people, regardless of what I say below, the Dark Tower series is moved to the top of the list of 5 books (or series) that mean a lot to me. If you haven't taken the Gunslinger's journey, you should. Roland and his ka-tet wait for you. And, remember, there are other worlds than these.

Ladies and gentlemen: meet Roland Deschain.
He kills with his heart...

Original post begins below:

I responded to Chaodai putting this on his LiveJournal. I don't do many of these things, but I liked this one, and figured it was a fun way to share some reading ideas with people. So, here goes. Feel free to snarf the meme and use on your blog, or give your own answers in the comments. Lord knows, I'm always looking for a good read...

1) Total number of books owned?
Difficult to say. I have a few hundred, but am constantly trying to cull the herd and donate a pile. Lots of funkadelic fiction and history, plus a gazillion glossy art books from Russia.

2) The last book I bought?
”The Nanny Diaries” – I’m finally reading some popular literature to see what I’ve been missing.

3) The last book I read?
My 'Dam Life: Three Years in Holland by Sean Condon. (I totally dig travel writing, a personal ambition of my own.)

4) Five books that mean a lot to me:

The books that mean the most to me are books that I read and re-read in my childhood and have gladly read again as an adult. All of these are series:

1. The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey. Science fiction, fantasy, romance, and melodrama… everything that a geeklette teenage girl is looking for. Read the original books, “Dragonflight”, “Dragonquest”, and “The White Dragon” and the Harper Hall trilogy, “Dragonsong”, “Dragonsinger”, and “Dragondrums”. I cannot speak to the books that follow. I lost interest when some of the original characters died. It’s like “old Star Wars” vs. “new Star Wars”. You grow up with The Real Thing – everything else pales in comparison. Would actually like to go to DragonCon and meet Anne McC. (But I’ve only been to one sci-fi convention and caused problems by laughing my ass off at an “alien contact” workshop…)

2. The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Brilliant British kid lit that harkens back to the richest of English folklore and mythic traditions.

3. The old Darkover books by Marion Zimmer Bradley – the ones before Marion really got heavily into the whole lesbian Amazon warrior thingie. Not my bag.

4. The Wizard of Oz books by L. Frank Baum with the classic illustrations by John R. Neill. Lots of whimsy and adventure, and - if you believe all the hype - political analysis, early feminism, and an interesting picture of America at the time of Baum’s writing. (Personally, I just dug the stories and the cool pictures. I buy illustrations from early editions at a local secondhand bookstore - when I can afford them – as gifts for one of my sisters.)

5. The “Colors” Fairy Books – a series of fairy tale books (The Green Fairy Book, The Red Fairy Book, The Blue Fairy Book, etc.) edited by Andrew Lang, with amazing old illustrations and really wicked stories from all around the world. First published in the late 1800’s, it includes all the classics and many you will never have heard. The books are not candy-coated for the modern child - lots of loss, decapitation and gore.

Just a really good book:
Summer’s coming. If you haven’t read “The Stand” by Stephen King, you really should. It’s the first enormous book I read as a teenager – and the first book to give me a black eye from its sheer weight when it hit me in the face as I fell asleep reading it in bed. Great summer read.

Like I said, summer is coming – time for oooold-school sci-fi, horror, and mystery reading: “Who Fears the Devil?” (the Silver John/John the Balladeer tales) by Manly Wade Wellman, “The Witches of Karres” by James Schmitz, “The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volumes I & II” (if you haven’t read Tom Godwin’s 1954 story “The Cold Equations”, you really, really should), “Night Shift” by Stephen King, and any dusty copy of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine you happen to find on someone’s shelf. (I dream to have a story published there someday…)

5) Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal:
I don’t know that many people with journals or blogs, but the ones I do are all huge readers. They might actually do this…

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Holy Crap! NYT Sez: "Revenge" Better Than "Star Wars"!

Note to my 4.5 readers: It's Star Wars Week. Prepare for some geeky entries. You'll notice I have changed my icon to a lovely little Greedo head for the duration. Everyone should have a little Greedo head.

My sister, Nurse Rachet, made me a papier-mâché Greedo head for Halloween back in 1977. She used chicken wire to form it and gave it great eyes by dismantling Mom's sunglasses and inserting them into the frame after painting it green. It was very difficult to breathe in it, and I only just found out from Nurse Rachet that those were Mom's new sunglasses at the time. I blame that on Nurse Rachet probably being stoned at the time she made me the Greedo head. She did a lot of weird shit back then. Someday, when I can find the Polaroid evidence, I'll write an entry about the ginormous apple pie she made while "under the influence." It was beyond huge, oozed all over the oven, and, instead of traditional vents, she carved the words "JIMMY HOFFA" across the top. Our father was unamused. My mother had no comment. Nurse Rachet has no memory of this. I, however, have a photograph. Now, if only I could find it, dammit.

But, I digress...

So, the New York Times reviewer says that "Revenge of the Sith" is better than "Star Wars" (that's "A New Hope" to you heathen folk). Holy crap!

He didn't say better than "Empire", though. That's a tough act to follow. Danger, romance, limb removal, family intrigue, the Norwegian Red Cross running madly across frozen ground... Good times, good times...

So, here's the word from the Times. I'm starting to feel good about this.

And now, noseless, rotund Han Solo:

Whoa - Han's put on so much weight he's a choking hazard?
Han Solo on Carbo Night. Hahahahaha.

Yeah. I'm funny. I actually had to go looking on Google images for "fat Han Solo" just to use my stupid "Carbo Night" joke. I'm pathetic. I actually found a pic of a real guy stuffed into a Han Solo costume, but I realized that he weighed less than me, and I respected him too much for having the guts to squeeze large thighs and a sizeable rump into those tight Corellian pants... Unlike a tuxedo, Corellian pirate gear does NOT make any man look great.

(And no dirty jokes about the "choking hazard" stuff, okay?)

The Foggy Bottom Treat

Condoleeza Rice Makes Surprise Visit To Iraq
Iraq annoyed. Had plans already. Asks her to call first next time.

Karaoke hour at the C Street Lobby

Compelling Reading

The blog I'm sending you to read was found by chance one night when the Sasquatch and I were "next blogging" over the phone. I will never likely know this woman, but I'm drawn back to her blog to see how her story is progressing. You may find yourself likewise compelled.

A young woman, married just a few days ago, but having to make plans for her possible death. It's an everyday life made less ordinary by the organic evil of cancer. Meet Laura. I hope she gets to stay around and write her messages for a good many years.

May we all be blessed with good health, much love, contentment and prosperity.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Runaway Bride Action Figure

I think these folks did a brilliant job with the goo-goo-googly eyes and the manic smile. She's a bit more buff that I would have anticipated. I do like the "Vegas, Baby" t-shirt and the multicolored towel for hiding from the cameras. Very nice.


You can buy one here.

My thanks to the Atomic Editor for correcting my very odd, brain-is-oxygen-starved spelling error.


No, I don't hang around conservative political websites. I found this link somewhere else.

Just read.

Listerine and Hershey Bars... what the hell was Cremola?

Creative naming should be banned. Babies should not be named Coco or Apple or Moon Unit or Dweezil or Listerine or Latrine or Shankawankadingdong or Cremola (whatever the fuck that is.) Life can be hard enough if you have a normal name. Do not doom your child by naming it Fahrfegnugen, okay?

I met a woman in Russia named "Hydroelectric Station" once. She was an older woman from rural Armenia, and she came to the embassy in Moscow, hoping to immigrate with her brother, "Tractor" and her sister, "October" (well, Oktyabrina - at least there was an effort to make it slightly more appealling that "Tractor.") They were nearly illiterate, seriously clueless, and clearly the product of parents desperate to please the Soviet state. Ugh. Poor things.

I knew a woman named Ninel. (NEEN-yel.) That's Lenin backwards. She once told me that she thought her name was mysterous and sexy until she was 20 and figured out what her parents had done for the good of the Party. Then, she wanted to kill herself.

She goes by Nina.

A correction

Gentle Readers:

It has been brought to my attention that in my recent rant about the insuitability of John Bolton for the post of U.N. Ambassador, I made an error. For this I am sorry.

John Bolton is not, as previously stated, "the satanic love child of Wilfred Brimley." In fact, he is the satanic love child of Wilford Brimley.

The Church of the Big Sky regrets this error and apologizes to anyone actually named Wilfred Brimley. You'd think with those "diabetes testing supplies" ads on tv every fifteen minutes, I would have gotten the name right. Ah, well.

Sorry. Really.

Wilford A. Brimley
(He was in "Ewoks: The Battle for Endor", you know)

His demonic offspring
(No apparent Ewok connection)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Is it safe?

Or, you must be straight trippin', dawg!

Somehow, I can't see Sir Laurence Olivier trying to apply these to Dustin Hoffman's choppers. Thanks to some person on April Winchell's Linkapalooza for posting that link - and giving me nightmares for weeks.

Spinning teeth? C'mon. That is seriously messed up.

And, now... pretty green things...

A few days ago, on a truly perfect spring day (with the exception of the whole war thing, Bush in the White House, unemployment, and rodents in my kitchen...) I went out and shot a few pictures of the flowers and trees in bloom around Bethesda. This was partly for my own entertainment and edification (I still suck with the digital Nikon) and partly for my friend the AussieMacGod, who probably doesn't have crabapple trees growing on his stretch of Australian beach. (I'll trade ya any old day, buddy!)


One nice thing about being among the functionally poor
in a wealthy town - nice landscaping to keep your mind
off your money woes...

Flowering shrubs by White Flint Mall...
Apparently, they thrive on bus exhaust and food court trash...

An amazing bush in full bloom - there was an elderly woman attempting to
control its invasion of the sidewalk in front of her house. I think she thought
I was casing her house when I stopped and asked if I could take this picture...

One of the last cherry trees I found still blooming...
A thunderous rain storm had wiped most of them out already...

White and pink crabapple, just about to fully bloom...

A lavender crabapple in full bloom - it was HUGE...